Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that The Weinstein Company is the first motion picture company to insert anti-smoking public service announcements (PSAs) in DVDs in which smoking is depicted. The Weinstein Company was responding to a September 2006 letter to Hollywood's 13 major motion picture companies, which was signed by Myers and the Attorneys General from 40 other states.
Myers explained that beginning with the December release of "Clerks II," the Weinstein Company's upcoming DVDs, which are distributed by TWC's exclusive home entertainment distributor, Genius Products, will include an anti-smoking ad created by the American Legacy Foundation.
"It took years to get Hollywood's attention but thanks to The Weinstein Company stepping up, we believe others will soon follow with anti-smoking messages in their DVDs," Myers said.
The Attorneys General September request offered free and unlimited use of teen-targeted anti-smoking ads developed for the truth® campaign of the American Legacy Foundation, created pursuant to the 1998 settlement of the states' tobacco litigation against the major tobacco companies. As of this date, no other studios have responded to this PSA offer.
"We are very proud to be the first to sign onto this important initiative," Bob and Harvey Weinstein said. "The Attorneys General made a very sensible request, and we think the concept has a lot of merit." The Weinsteins added, "Hopefully our company's decision to move forward will make other studios reconsider the idea."
Harvey Weinstein added, "As a former smoker, I feel like it's my responsibility to do everything I can to educate young people about the dangers of smoking. We really hope this initiative will have an impact with viewers across the country."
Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Legacy Foundation stated, "Our hope is that the Weinsteins' bold move sets a trend with other decision makers in Hollywood. It is a simple way to prevent thousands of youth from smoking, and can ultimately reduce tobacco addiction and premature death."
Tobacco remains the number one preventable cause of death in the United States and 80 percent of adult smokers begin before age 18. Research has shown that teens are strongly influenced by seeing actors they idolize smoke on screen, regardless of the characters they play. To counteract this, the Attorneys General have repeatedly asked the Motion Picture Association of America, and the major studios to show youth smoking prevention public service messages in theaters and on DVDs before films that contain smoking. The Attorneys General also asked the National Association of Theatre Owners and its members to run similar messages in their theaters.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) email@example.com